Summary: This is an overview into "Seeing the Unseen Christ"
I love the story about the kindergartner who was drawing a picture of a reindeer. One antler was purple the other orange. Its fur was green and blue and yellow. The teacher was a little concerned and told him, “You know most people don’t see reindeers like that.” The little boy’s response was to step back, sigh and say, “Yeah! That’s too bad.”
Consider for a moment whether we are more like the little boy or “most people”. Do we see the unseen, the mysterious and marvelous or do we only see those things we can touch, taste, and ‘prove’? Do we see God present with us or is the presence of Jesus a mental attitude and belief without any solid facts behind it.
I ask that because our ability to see things others miss is what God is all about. Don’t believe me? Consider these examples. In Exodus 33 God tells Israel, “My presence will go with you.” At the end of Matthew gospel’s Jesus tells us “I am with you even to the end of the age.” Even Christmas that we just celebrated announces that Jesus Emmanuel—God with us. It was news missed by the “most people” of the world because they didn’t see Messiah’s that way. Yet those astrologers, who saw the sign, and those shepherds, who heard the angels, all realized the great truth that the unthinkable had happened.
The question I gave you to answer isn’t hypothetical at all. It is, in fact, a powerful question that says a great deal about who we are, what we believe and why we’re here. What difference would it make in Christ were physically present in worship with us on Sunday?
One possible impact might be on the way we worship Christ. Psalm 105 shows praise taking center stage when we realize what God’s done for us. There are at least five imperative commands to praise God in the first few verses—Give thanks; call on His name, make known, sing, sing praise, tell. Each of these are commands to verbalize what we believe about God. We are to reflect on what God has done as well. Glory, rejoice, seek, and remember are what we must do if we our lives are focused on Christ. You may think that simply praising God seems silly or a waste of time; but I’ll remind you that God’s word says God “inhabits” the praises of his people. It is in praising God that we discover him anew.
One of the outcomes of living life in the presence of God is that we see our very character changed. The passage in Acts talks about stewardship but beyond that it shows us Barnabas who is known as “son of encouragement” His name comes from the character that he demonstrated in his daily life. I would believe that it is a character that developed over the time he knew Jesus and had walked with those early followers.
This congregation is getting ready to take a step of faith as we seek ways to draw closer to Jesus. Our 50-Day Spiritual Adventure is a special time we set aside to experience accelerated spiritual growth. For a congregation to grow it takes individuals taking steps on their own. A number of positive spiritual choices made by each of us will make a difference in our whole community. We start next Sunday the 14th. We’re going to set aside 50 days to practice some positive habits—basic spiritual disciplines—that will mark our life over the long haul. It’s not busy work but a chance to grab hold of some spiritual truth and form some solid healthy habits that honor Christ.
Each Sunday I will be preach on characteristics of the Church and individuals who know firsthand the presence of the Lord. Next Sunday I will focus on worship. If Christ were to make himself physically perceptible, probably our first response would be to bow down before him, to kneel. Such actions are the body language of worship just as a hug or passionate kiss is the body language of love.
Each week Monday through Wednesday the passages in your journal will review what I preached on the week before. The scriptures for Thursday and Friday deal with temptation and are recommended memory verses to help us overcome a self-destructive habit. Saturday the verses help us get ready for Sunday morning.
Do you know the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge? Head knowledge knows all about something whereas heart knowledge has the experience. Neither is better, both are good and so the adventure doesn’t begin and end with a look at various Bible passages as if reading were enough. In fact there are Action Steps that will give feet to what we’re learning. They are one way we move the head knowledge to our hearts.